Through its first three games of the Legion A High School tournament, Northridge was 3-0 and doubled its opponents output at the plate, outscoring them 32-16.
Then the Grizzlies ran into Fossil Ridge.
Between Sunday’s 7-6 loss and Monday’s 7-2 loss, the Grizzlies (26-20) never were able to find that same momentum and it cost them.
They allowed the Sabercats to claw all the way back from a second-round loss to sweep Northridge and capture a state championship in the process.
“We played really well the first three days and not so much the last two,” said coach Travis Roth. “Fossil just seemed to be our kryptonite.”
But in Monday’s game, the Grizzlies’ lack of offense wasn’t as much of an issue as their lack of defense.
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They made four errors on the day, and two in the first inning that let Fossil Ridge take an early four-run lead.
“They came to play, and we didn’t,” said shortstop Trey Vasquez. “The first inning, none of us were ready. We thought we were just going to come out and win.”
That first inning ended up being key.
Without that inning, the game would have been tied going into the sixth, and it would have been a totally different story.
“That’s as flat as I’ve seen us play in a long time,” Roth said. “Defensively, we didn’t play well today. We just picked a bad day to have one of those games.”
Despite the loss, the Grizzlies improved a lot from a team that started league play 1-6 and often lacked focus early in the year.
With only one player going into his junior year to bridge the gap, the soon-to-be seniors also struggled to mesh with their younger teammates.
“It was a crazy mix early on,” Roth said. It took us a while to…
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